9th NYPD Officer Dies By Suicide
The NYPD sleeve patch on an officer (Shutterstock)
An off-duty police officer died on Wednesday night, after reportedly shooting himself in his Queens home.
The officer was identified by multiple media outlets as Robert Echeverria, 56, who was a 25-year veteran of the NYPD. The Post and Daily News report that he had been assigned to the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group.
Echeverria apparently shot himself in his Laurelton home; according to WABC 7, “Sources say the officer’s wife and two children, ages 18 and 11, heard a shot, ran to see what it was, and found him.”
We are saddened to announce that the NYPD has suffered another tragedy today with the loss of one of our officers to suicide.
To anyone who may be struggling, know that there is support available.
Behind each of these resources are people that care about your well-being. pic.twitter.com/1rYN9mmdUJ
This is the ninth suicide of an NYPD officer this year, and the seventh since June. On Tuesday morning, Johnny Rios, an officer in the 50th Precinct, killed himself in his Westchester home.
NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill has called the suicide a “crisis,” and introduced peer counseling for officers. Chief of Patrol Terrence Monahan told Brian Lehrer earlier this week, “It’s all right to come ask us or even go outside the agency. Get the help, if you’re feeling that dark moment, get the help. It’s really devastating to see, even as we’re talking about this, that it continues.”
During an appearance on The Daily Show, Mayor Bill de Blasio discussed the suicides and said he had reached out to the NYPD with a personal message, drawing from his experience when his own father killed himself. De Blasio described how his father fought in World War II after Pearl Harbor, losing his leg in the Battle of Okinawa. Recounting how his father fell into depression and alcoholism, de Blasio said his father was unable to accept help: “My dad, he was strong, he was smart, he lived through that entire war, He was not killed in that battle. But that war ultimately killed him.”
“My message to our officers is if you yourself are having a challenge or someone you care about or someone in your precinct, there’s nothing wrong with accepting help,” de Blasio said.
A friend of Echeverria’s told the Daily News, “We were supposed to see each other’s kids graduate… It’s heart wrenching to think you’re going through anything to take your own life. Good dude. Good hearted father. Family man. Family man just doing his job doing his duty.”
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.